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Choosing and using energy efficient appliances

Home appliances are typically a major source of energy consumption in your home so, it pays to use energy efficient appliances to help reduce your power bills. Here are some tips to help you choose energy efficient appliances and use them wisely.

Fridges and freezers

The running cost of a new fridge and/or freezer over a ten-year period could be anywhere between $600 and $2,000, depending on the model you choose. Cutting down on running costs is as simple as choosing the right fridge or freezer for your needs.

When choosing your next fridge or freezer, some factors to take into consideration include the size, model and shape, as well as, water and ice dispensers. These extra functions can end up using much more energy than you’d think.

Energy label

Make sure to look at the Energy Rating Label when comparing fridges and freezers.

If you’re comparing fridges and freezes of similar sizes and types, look at the number of stars on the Energy Rating Label. The model with the most stars is the most efficient.

If you’re comparing between different sizes, look at the energy consumption figures on the Energy Rating Label. The model with the lowest consumption will be the cheapest to run.


An energy efficient dishwasher can save you up to $600 in running costs over a ten-year period. So, when choosing a dishwasher, be sure to:

  • Choose the right size – a slim line or single drawer dishwasher is best.
  • Compare the Energy Rating Label of dishwashers of similar size and type – the more stars, the cheaper it is to run.
  • Look at annual energy consumption (kWh per year) when comparing dishwashers of different sizes or types.
  • Choose models with an ‘eco’, ‘half load’ or ‘fast’ wash setting.
  • Consider a model with a hot water connection for lower running costs and shorter cycle times – if you have a wetback, solar water heater or heat pump water heater.

Washing machines

The running costs of a washing machine typically comes from heating the water. Running your washing machine on a warm cycle can use up to ten times as much energy as a cold wash. This could account for an additional $0.20 to $0.40 for each wash.

If you must do your washing on a warm cycle, it’s best to choose an energy efficient washing machine model to help cut down on costs.

When selecting a washing machine, be sure to:

  • Select a size that meets your household’s needs.
  • Compare the energy and water rating labels on different models – the more stars mean the more energy and water efficient. Therefore, it will cost less to run.
  • Check spin speeds – the faster the speed of a machine’s spin (1000rpm or higher), the more amount of water will be removed which cuts down on drying time.
  • Choose a model that offers cold wash cycles.
  • Consider models with auto-sensing and load size selection to avoid using more water than you need.
  • Consider a model with a cold and hot water connection for lower running cots and shorter cycle times if you have a wetback, solar water heater or heat pump water heater.

It’s also wise to make an informed decision between a top loader or front loader. Typically, a front loader offers more energy and water efficiency given that it uses less water and energy. However, it does have longer washing times and may only have internal water heating, which could result it more energy usage in the long run.

Clothes dryers

There are a number of different types of clothes dryers available and most, if not all, use up a lot of electricity. Generally, an average load costs approximately $1 to dry. Whilst this is not expensive on its own, it does add up depending on how often you use the clothes dryer to dry your laundry.

The simplest way to avoid running costs would be to dry your clothes outside on a clothesline or on a clothes airer.

Take a look at the different types of clothes dryers here.

If you must have a clothes dryer in your household, look out for:

  • The right size dryer to suit your household’s needs.
  • Models with an auto-sensing feature to prevent over drying.
  • Simple timer models.
  • Vented dryers – a low purchase price with moderate running costs, these dryers are the cheapest option over their lifecycle.
  • Washer dryers – if you require a compact unit.
  • Wall mountable or stackable dryers to help save space.


Your TV might just be one of the biggest users of electricity in your household. Though often chosen based on price, size and picture quality, there are other factors to consider when choosing a television set:

  • The larger the screen, the more electricity it uses.
  • There are big differences in energy use between TVs of the same size.
  • Look for the Energy Rating Label to compare models – the more stars, the more energy efficient. In addition, the lower the energy consumption (in kWh per year), the less the television will cost to run.

Computer and office equipment

Though computer systems and equipment are meant to last a few years, they are often susceptible to damage from overheating and prolonged use. In this case, an energy efficient system doesn’t just offer monetary savings, but longer lasting equipment.

Just like any other electrical appliance, it’s worth shopping around for a product that will not only provide value for money, but will also run at a cheaper cost.

To help with lowering running costs and save energy, you should try to:

  1. Turn your computer and other electronic equipment off at the wall at night or when not in use.
  2. Set up power management features like putting your computer into sleep mode after a certain period of inactivity.

Energy efficiency and saving electricity

Using energy efficient appliances makes a big difference, not only on your electricity bills but also in the longevity of your appliances.

While choosing an energy efficient appliance is one way to cut down on costs, being smart about how you use electricity and choosing the right provider can help as well.

To compare electricity providers in New Zealand, take a look at Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction table here.

Compare Electricity Providers

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